"Our Loose Ends" Genealogy Column
by Lynna Kay Shuffield
Houston, Texas

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press - 1 August 2002


Research, Failing to Complete the Circle

More and more people are getting into genealogy. The internet has helped and hindered tremendously, because people expect everything to be on the internet, for it to be accurate, and expect you to immediately e-mail them all of your research.

Ask yourself, “Why did I become interested in genealogy?” For some, genealogy is a gift. I believe it is a genuine gift to remember family names and connections, and just to see a chart and how everyone fits in. I rarely forget anything. Okay, I very seldom forget! Genealogists enjoy all the details of their ancestors’ lives.

People use to become interested in genealogy to be able to claim famous ancestors or to join one of the prestigious genealogy societies. Today, more and more are becoming interested in genealogy just because they want to learn more about their family.

Others could care less and don’t even know the names of their grandparents and think the past is the past and it should all immediately be forgotten and good riddance to it all!

I became involved in genealogy as a tag-along with my mother, grandmother, great-aunt and a cousin on their weekend jaunts to cemeteries, interviews of other family members or to a courthouse to search for records. I can remember when courthouses use to be open a half-day on Saturdays up to the late 1970s.

My recreation is genealogy and closing the circle is my goal.

Recently, I was talking with a cousin about one of our families and their listing in the 1880 Census. In the household was a 14-year old with a different surname of Walden. I my cousin if he’d tried to determine who this person was. He responded, “Oh, I assumed that person was a farm hand and I didn’t copy do the information from the census.” He didn’t close the circle!

As it turns out, the 14-year old Walden was the wife’s son by her first marriage. The marriage license to her second husband listed her surname as Walden, which was from the first marriage and not her maiden name. When I got back to the cousin, he said, “Oh, well then he’s a younger brother.” Again, he didn’t close the circle.

By researching the young Walden with this family, I was then able to go back and find the wife’s first marriage to Walden and document her actual maiden name.

The lesson: Never assume! Always close the circle! Young Walden and the marriage license with surname Walden should have sent off red-flares to the other researchers of this family but no one followed through and found out, they just assumed and didn’t close the circle!

International Czechs Conference - 2003

Start planning now to attend the 9th Genealogical & Cultural Conference sponsored by the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International (CGSI) at the Omni Houston Hotel Westside in Houston, Texas. The dates are October 15-18, 2003. Visit the society’s webpage at: http://www.cgsi.org/.

For information, contact the Conference Co-Chairs, Paul Makousky, 8582 Timberwood Rd, Woodbury, MN 55125, e-mail PaulMCzech@aol.com or Charlene Hurta, Rt 1, Box 233, Bayou Woods Circle, Angleton, TX 77515, e-mail fhurta@brazosport.cc.tx.us.

In this column, I will be glad to highlight and review any family history, genealogy, county history, or similar book, free of charge, if you donate a copy of the book or item. After it has been highlighted and reviewed, on a space available basis, it will be donated to the genealogy section of a library. You will receive an acknowledgment of the donation from the library. Mail item or book to me at the below address.

Lynna Kay Shuffield has written several books related to Texas genealogy and military history. She has spoken before numerous genealogy and veterans groups. Also, is a County Coordinator for the Texas GenWeb Project. Regretfully, she cannot help with individual genealogical research. Please visit the website for this column at: http://www.geocities.com/lks_friday/COLUMN-001.htm or if you have any questions, comments, suggestions for column topics, genealogy or historical society announcements, please contact her at: P. O. Box 16604, Houston, Texas 77222-6604 or e-mail: lksfriday@sbcglobal.net

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This webpage was last created on 22 August 2002 and was last revised on __________

Copyright © 1999, 2001, 2002 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604